Feature Article of Saturday, 20 April 2013
Columnist: Allotey, Henry Kpakpo
Much story has been placed on the merits of democracy and the multiparty system of government. We are reminded this system allows the electorate a choice in who runs their affairs, with beneficial spin-offs being rule of law, free market economies, innovation, economic and social progress.
Ghana has practiced multiparty democracy for thirty-one out of the fifty-four years it has existed as an independent state, with the last twenty years taking up a continuous unbroken period with this system of government. However, if one is to look for evidence of the social and economic benefits of multiparty democracy, one would be hard-pressed to find these. On the contrary, the country, over this two decade period seems to be despondent socially, and in decline economically.
Apart from these, multiparty democracy seems to be the reason for worsening tribal and political divisions in our society. One can conclude this reached an apogee when the flag bearer of one of the two main political parties mounted a campaign platform to remind his supporters that tribal loyalty can be used to settle political rivalry, and violently is need be. Although this leader seems to have backtracked from his tribalistic stance, not too subtle undercurrents of this call to tribal arms can still be detected in their political maneuverings since that infamous campaign call.
And this undercurrent threatens to burst into a torrent of violence ever since this leader lost his bid to become president. His refusal to concede defeat to the victor in the presidential elections of 2012 is viewed by some as nothing more than a refusal to concede defeat to someone from a tribe considered by their party as good only to play second fiddle.
Although most objective observers, both local and international scored high marks for the 2012 elections as being free and fair, this flag bearer, together with the support of his party, have challenged the declared results and petitioned the Supreme Court of Ghana to annul as fraudulent, votes of almost five million voters, exclusively from polling stations where results did not favor him.
Now, the voting pattern in Ghana seems to follow tribal affiliations, and those whose votes are being challenged as fraudulent, may interpret this challenge to their right of determining who rules them as a challenge with ethnic undertones. Their reaction, if they feel aggrieved with the outcome of the Supreme Court case will be similarly colored by ethnic considerations.
Can we project what is likely to happen to this country’s ethnic cohesion if say the Supreme Court decides the current Northern President should be replaced by an Akan President?
Just food for thought. 0243370764